Thursday, May 5, 2011

Side effects of Namenda or Memantin (generic name)

This is a medication prescribed for dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Namenda is also prescribed for other memory disorders and chronic pain syndromes. It can help Alzheimer’s disease patients to think more clearly and do activities of daily living. However, it cannot cure Alzheimer’s disease. Side effects of this drug are usually tolerable.

This drug has quite unusual mechanism of action. It causes mild reduction in glutamate neurotransmission inside the brain. It causes reduction in exitotoxicity that is associated with glutamate neuro transmission. This results in prolongation of neuronal survival. But this drug is rather expensive and most patients in developing world could not afford it. In addition, long term cost benefit ratio is rather controversial. 

Most common side effects of Namenda

Most common side effects of Namenda are constipation, Dizziness and headache. In addition, Namenda can rarely cause seizures. Weight gain is minimal. But it is reported in some patients. Some patients may get excessive fatigue. Namenda  usually do not cause any sexual side effects. 

Does Namenda cause sedation?

This is a question frequently asked from me. Namenda can cause drowsiness and sedation but it is little rare. Since it can cause fatigue, some patients may find it comfortable to lie on the bed, which can cause sleepiness.  

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About Dr. Manura Nanayakkara

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Dr. Manura Nanayakkara is a Medical doctor working in Sri Lanka. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo in 2005. In addition to his undergraduate medical degree, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatry. He completed his postgraduate degree in 2011. 

Work Experience

He started to work as a medical internist in the District general Hospital Nawalapitiya in the Kandy district (central Sri Lanka) in 2006. Following his basic training, he started to work in a Rural hospital in Akuressa (Southern part of Sri Lanka). During that period he used to treat wide variety of diseases in this rural community.

Due to his interest in the field of Psychiatry, he entered into the Diploma in Psychiatry course conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo. It is the only Postgraduate medical institute in Sri Lanka.

Currently he is undergoing training in MD psychiatry program leading to specialist in the field of psychiatry.